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Tom Sietsema Says Clarity Fuses Style with Informality

Plus, Senegalese at Chez Dior, Ann Limpert tries Chez Billy Sud and delicious breads at City Perch.

R. Lopez

Tom Sietsema released his Spring Dining Guide this week in lieu of a full review. He still visited Clarity in Vienna, though, which replaced Wolftrap Cafe in April.

In his First Bite review for the Washington Post, Sietsema praises the contemporary American cuisine of chefs Jason Maddens and Jonathan Krinn that includes appetizers like Brussels sprouts petals with Marcona almonds with dried blueberries and mini pork shanks flavored like Buffalo chicken wings and served on a slaw of celeriac and gorgonzola. He writes:

"The entrees show similar flair. Delicious veal meatballs top tagliatelle that’s rolled out in-house and made snowy with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, while the hamburger wins us over with dry-aged chuck and a potato roll produced by Mal Krinn."[WaPo]

Meanwhile, Tim Carmann raves about Chez Dior, a Senegalese restaurant in Hyattsville, in the Washington Post's $20 Diner column:

"The food is simultaneously foreign and familiar, a mix of comforting grill smoke and funky West African flavors — sour and fermented, sweet and hot."

The yassa chicken, served with caramelized onions, lemony onion sauce, and white rice, is a can't-miss dish. He also recommends the whole tilapia marinated in onion sauce, tomatoes, and white vinegar but warns diners to beware of the strong flavors of tamarind, tomato, and fish in the Senegalese thiebou dienne, often labeled a fish stew. [WaPo]

Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown, as described by Ann Limpert in the Washingtonian, sounds inconsistent. She's pleased with some of Chef Brendan L'Etoile's bistro classics like the tomato and fennel soup flavored with chilies and pastis and quenelles in a tomato sauce. But she calls the "dry" lamb sausage with white beans and kale "aggressively garlicky" and the lardons on a frisée salad are "chewy." Limpert is also unimpressed with the selection of simple desserts, save for the "rich and airy" Paris-Brest made of pate de choux pastry filled with praline cream. [Washingtonian]

David Hagedorn digs the "1960's lodge vibe" at City Perch in North Bethesda in his review for Modern Luxury. He likes most of the food, too. Chef Matt Baker's whole rotisserie duck is "a real tour de force" but the porchetta is "unsatisfying and fatty." Pastry chef Sherry Yard gets compliments for her bread assortment of Chinese butter buns, Parmesan and cayenne popovers, and orange sage biscuits. Hagedorn also implores diners to try her desserts, which he calls "a must-have." [ML]

THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch try SER...Capital Cooking gets a taste of Lobster ME...Cloture Club feels the vibrancy at the grand opening of Mastro's...Cook In/ Dine Out explains that Beefsteak is not a steakhouse.

Editor's Note: The name of City Perch restaurant was originally misidentified.